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Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski shares reason for retirement, reflects on career unlike any in college hoops

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski spoke about his decision to retire after next season.

DURHAM, N.C. — It's the end of an era for Duke Basketball. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski will retire at the end of the 2021-22 season.

Krzyzewski spoke publicly about his retirement decision for the first time on Thursday. 

“I’ve been a very lucky guy. I mean a really lucky guy," he said. "When I was 16, I was a junior in high school, and I had a coach and a teacher, and they had such an impact on me that I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to be a coach. I wanted to be a teacher."

Krzyzewski joined the Blue Devils as the head coach back in 1980 and has gone on to cement a legacy as a college basketball giant. He led the team to five national championships (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, and 2015) and 12 Final Fours. He holds the record for the most wins of any college basketball coach. 

Those accolades, Krzyzewski said, came with belief from the people who surrounded him.

"In your darkest hours, it’s not just about opportunity, it’s about people believing in you," he said.

So, why now?

“Mickie [my wife] and I have decided the journey’s going to be over in a year. And we’re going to go after it as hard as we can," Krzyzewski. 

“I want this to be as good a basketball team as we’ve had in 46 years," he continued.

Coach K even had a message for the students. 

“Come back in August. We’re going to be ready. You be ready...it's going to be an exciting year," he said. 

The university named associate head coach Jon Scheyer as Krzyzewski’s successor for the 2022-23 season. Scheyer played under Krzyzewski from 2006 to 2010 and was a captain of the 2010 national championship team. He will be the program's 20th head coach when he starts the 2022-23 season. 

Krzyzewski released a statement on his upcoming retirement. 

"My family and I view today as a celebration," Krzyzewski said. "Our time at both West Point and Duke has been beyond amazing and we are thankful and honored to have led two college programs at world-class institutions for more than four decades. That, coupled with 11 unforgettable years as the United States National Team coach, has resulted in a remarkable journey. Certainly, I have been blessed to coach some of the finest young men and greatest players in basketball history as a direct result of these unique opportunities. For us, there is no greater joy than being part of our players' respective endeavors through basketball, and more importantly, their lives off the court. Our family is eternally grateful to everyone who contributed to our career for the past 46 years. So, to the countless members of our extended family, thank you very much."

Statement from Duke President Vincent E. Price: 

"I can say without hesitation that Mike Krzyzewski is the greatest coach in the history of men's college basketball," Price said. "This is clearly demonstrated by his tremendous success at Duke — 1,170 career wins, five national championships, 15 ACC tournaments and 12 ACC regular-season titles — and his service to our country as the head coach of USA Basketball. But the true measure of his excellence is more personal. It is in his resolute commitment to integrity, fairness, and inclusion; in his transformational impact on collegiate athletics and the Durham community; in the joy, generosity, and inspiration he has brought to countless fans; and in his role as guide and teacher of thousands of players, coaches, and staff at Duke and beyond. Mike, Mickie and the entire Krzyzewski family have been devoted to Duke for more than 40 years, and we are so grateful that relationship will continue for a long time to come."

Statement from Duke Vice President and Director of Athletics Kevin White: 

"Simply put, Mike Krzyzewski's legacy – never to be repeated again – is truly mindboggling," said White. "To suggest that Mike has more than earned the 'GOAT' mantle within the coaching community, both domestically and globally, is perhaps the greatest understatement of all time. Well beyond all the banners, hardware, titles, awards, honors, etc., Mike will long be best remembered, if not deeply respected and admired, for his unabashed love and utter devotion to his players. Again, the consummate teacher, coach, and mentor, coupled with his highly unique curriculum around life lessons and service will surely live at the pinnacle level of his chosen profession in perpetuity."

Statement from ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips: 

“Mike Krzyzewski continues to be a tremendous ambassador for the sport of basketball. What he means to the countless players he has coached, both collegiately and professionally, is simply immeasurable. His impact over the past five-plus decades is beyond commendable, and we look forward to celebrating and honoring both him and Mickie during their final year. As the transition is made, we welcome Jon Scheyer to the incredible head coaching ranks of ACC Basketball.”

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

  • Led Duke to five national championships in 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010 and 2015
  • Went 88-1 with six gold medals as the head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team, including 24-0 in the Olympics with Olympic gold medals in 2008, 2012 and 2016
  • Eight-time National Coach of the Year – a total of 12 honors
  • Coached Duke to the Final Four 12 times -- tied for most in NCAA history
  • Won 12 ACC regular season championships
  • Won 15 ACC Tournament championships – an ACC record
  • Five-time ACC Coach of the Year and five-time NABC District Coach of the Year
  • Achieved a final AP No. 1 ranking eight times -- more than double the next best team in the Coach K era
  • Has spent 126 weeks ranked No. 1 in the AP poll, 556 weeks ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll and 649 weeks ranked in the top 25 AP poll – each of those figures are the most by a coach in poll history
  • Has won 67 ACC Tournament games -- the most in league history
  • His 97 NCAA Tournament wins and 35 NCAA Tournament appearances each stand as NCAA records
  • Duke's eight No. 1 seeds under Coach K are the most by a coach in NCAA Tournament history
  • He has more 20-win seasons (36) and 30-win seasons (15) than any coach in NCAA history
  • Has coached 37 All-America selections to a total of 51 honors – the most by any active coach
  • Under Krzyzewski, nine Duke players have earned 11 National Player of the Year honors – the most by an active coach
  • The Krzyzewski era has produced six Blue Devils to earn nine National Defensive Player of the Year honors – more than double the next closest team in college basketball
  • Has coached 28 NBA Lottery picks – the most in Draft history – and a total of 67 NBA Draft selections, including 41 first-round picks
  • His 1,170 career wins are most in NCAA history, while his 1,097 victories at Duke are the most in NCAA history at one school and his 517 ACC wins are the most in league history
  • Served as the President of the National Basketball Coaches Association in 1998-99
  • Named America's Best Coach by Time/CNN in 2001
  • A two-time inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, in 2001 for his individual coaching career and in 2010 as part of the collective induction of the Olympic Dream Team
  • Inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006, and the United States Olympic Hall of Fame in 2009
  • Inducted to the Army West Point Sports Hall of Fame in 2009, the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Duke Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011
  • Named the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in 2011
  • Presented the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award in 2012 and the Lapchick Character Award in 2015
  • Has served on the board of the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research since its inception in 1993
  • Has served as an honorary chairman of the Duke Children's Hospital
  • Founded the Emily Krzyzewski Center – a community center in Durham, named in honor of his late mother, whose mission is to inspire economically disadvantaged students to dream big, act with character and purpose, strive for academic excellence and reach their highest potential as future citizen leaders


MIKE KRZYZEWSKI QUICK FACTS

  • Born: February 13, 1947, in Chicago, Ill.
  • Family: Wife - Carol (Mickie) Marsh; Daughters - Debbie Savarino, Lindy Frasher, Jamie Spatola; Grandchildren - Joey Savarino, Michael Savarino, Carlyn Savarino, Emelia Savarino, Quin Frasher, Remington Frasher, John David Spatola, Mackenzie Carol Spatola, Caden Brodie Frasher, Madeline Joy Spatola
  • High School: Weber High School in Chicago, Ill.
  • College: Army West Point '69 (Bachelor of Science)
  • College Playing Career: Three-year letterman at Army West Point, 1967-69
  • College Honors: Team Captain, 1968-69; Second-Team All-NIT, 1969; North-South Game, 1969
  • Military Service: Army Officer, 1969-74; Resigned as Captain, 1974
  • Coaching Career: Head Coach Service Teams, 1969-72; Head Coach, U.S.M.A. Prep School (Fort Belvoir, Va.), 1972-74; Graduate Assistant Coach at Indiana University, 1974-75; Head Coach at Army West Point, 1975-80; Head Coach at Duke University, 1980-present; United States National Team Head Coach, 2006-16


JON SCHEYER QUICK FACTS

  • Born: August 24, 1987, in Northbrook, Ill.
  • Family: Wife - Marcelle; Daughter - Noa; Son - Jett
  • High School: Glenbrook North in Northbrook, Ill.
  • College: Duke '10 (Bachelor of Arts in History)
  • College Playing Career: Four-year letterman at Duke, 2007-10
  • College Honors: Co-captain, 2009, 2010; Consensus Second Team All-America, 2010; All-NCAA Final Four Team, 2010; First Team All-ACC, 2010; NCAA Tournament All-South Region, 2010; ACC Tournament MVP, 2009; All-Preseason NIT; First Team ACC All-Tournament, 2009, 2010
  • Coaching Career: Special Assistant at Duke, 2013-14; Assistant Coach at Duke, 2014-18; Associate Head Coach at 2018-present